I'll drink to that.

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alan s
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I'll drink to that.

Post by alan s » 09 Dec 2002, 03:23

If this topic offends anyone just say so & I'll zap it, no offence taken, but I do have other interests as well as cars. Probably not the kind of interest that is compatable with driving cars, but as I live on the other side of the World, we often wonder how our lifestyles & interests compare with other countries' habits & cultures.
Until about 25 years ago, the prices on alcoholic drinks were so cheap so as to be laughable. When they went up it wasn't in a small way or gradually but by about 300% based on a new tariff regime. When the GST was promised (threatened) it was stated that a lot of tariffs would disappear but when pressed, the pollies said it would be irresponsible) to reduce the price of booze as this would promote alcoholism (read - reduce Govt Income) so prices once again went up. As a result, here in Australia, there is a booming "Home Brew" industry. This ranges from alcoholic Ginger Beer, Cider, Stout, almost any beer in the World can be "cloned" using various kits and additives and pre mixed brews (just ad water, sugar/dextrose and yeast provided, 3 weeks later it's drinkable; within 2 months as good as money can buy) as well as wines, some of which reportedly have actually won awards at Wine Competitions, Rum, Brandy, Vodka in fact Elliot Ness would have thought he'd died & gone to Hades if he saw what's available in "Home Brew" shops. The industry in its own right is a multi million Dollar industry out here and reduces the price of say 2 dozen cans of a good quality beer from around A$35 - $50 to around A$15 for 5 dozen small bottles (stubbies) of the same volume, so little wonder that it's worth the trouble.
As I say, I can experiment with pre packs by adding certain types of hops & have German, English or whatever nationality beer or stout that I would never be able to buy in the pub.
Is this a big industry in the UK or Europe & do you folks get some of the brands that they make in Australia? Curiosity is the motive.
Alan S

Dave Burns
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Post by Dave Burns » 09 Dec 2002, 03:47

Plenty of that going on over here Alan, I've knocked up a few rather nice brews mesen.
I like my ale to be gassey and fresh, the only way I could get that was to bottle it, stuffing it in kegs was convenient but not to my liking, and the constant pressure kegs are expensive and clumsy when you want to get at it.
So the scrubbing of all those bottles took its toll and despite the gorgeouse reward I just plain got fed up with it, allways threatening to convert the dishwasher to do it for me but never got round to it.
I've all but packed in with the ale now, going at the reds a bit instead since its good for you in moderation, though I can sup Coral Sands shiraz till it comes out me ears.
Dave<img src=icon_smile_tongue.gif border=0 align=middle>

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Post by vanny » 09 Dec 2002, 06:18

I under stand the cost of making V's cost of buying all to well being a skint student and all. As long as i can remember my dad has always had a batch on the go, and now as i become a man i have the first one in the tank next to me. Pressure keg, and a kit from boots, unfortunately there arent very many places round my way that sell the stuff which is a shame, but as im new to this lark (and mostly made it up as i went along) any suggestions hints and tips while im learning how?
The biggest problem with the pressure kegs is that eventually the plastic goes brittle and will explode when the batch starts, so far weve only had a leak but its worrying
Merseyside, UK

Dave Burns
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Post by Dave Burns » 09 Dec 2002, 07:11

There doesn't have to be anyone close by Vanny, I can recomend this online outfit, had a good few quidsworth from them a year or two ago, if your into bitter you'll be amazed at the taste of the Brupaks colne valley bitter with wyeast 1028 london ale yeast.
It made the best drink of beer I've ever had, never had anything like it since.
Bloodyhell if I'm not careful I'll be back into it, still got all me clobber.

alan s
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Post by alan s » 09 Dec 2002, 07:33

Here you go Vanny, here's a site that goes into the technicalities of it all. May be some tips from a foreign source that might help as it's a "sport" in which you never stop learning.
Here's another couple of site that may be of interest.. tell you what though; your prices are MUCH higher than ours when you remember that our currency has to be divided by 3 to approx equate to yours.
Makes interesting comparisons don't you agree?
Getting thirsty just thinking about it<img src=icon_smile_tongue.gif border=0 align=middle> <img src=icon_smile_tongue.gif border=0 align=middle> <img src=icon_smile_blush.gif border=0 align=middle>
Alan S

Dave Bamber
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Post by Dave Bamber » 11 Dec 2002, 01:45

Been toying with the idea of doing a bit of brewing for a while, this thead has inspired me and there is a brew shop in town too. Guess where I'm going at the weekend! Make a change from welding the L*ndro*er.<img src=icon_smile_tongue.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle><img src=icon_smile_clown.gif border=0 align=middle>
Berlingo HDI Wicked<img src=icon_smile_evil.gif border=0 align=middle>Red

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Post by FFX-DM » 17 Dec 2002, 16:18

My dad always used to make beer and I really LOVE the smell of the malt. I have always been a wine maker myself, not being much of a beer drinker. My parents used to make killer rice and raisin when they were poor and first married. I think with me it was some kind of earth mother type thing! Also, I just hate to see blackberries and elderberries drop on the ground and rot when I could be making wine from them!
The big difference between wine and beer is that you can make beers which are far better than those you buy, but wines, although very good, will never beat a proper commercial wine (although we have all had yuk commercial plonk, but I mean in general).
My tip for wine and beer is to use DECENT yeast. When I was a biochemical engineer my home-brewing workmate cultivated the live yeast from the bottom of a bottle of 'King and Barnes' and in the end we brewed up 100L of yeast culture (on a medium consisting mainly of glucose and marmite) and then harvested the yeast cells for storing and using in future brews. With a bit of care live yeast from any bottle can be got up and running again. Far better than the packs that come with kits.
Anyhow, I always have some wine on the go, currently it's 3 gallons of elderberry and 2 gallons of peach.
Homebrewing is so out of fashion these days it gets increasingly difficult to get hold of the materials. I think it's a combination of people wanting little effort instant gratification plus those of us in the south can now pop to France and buy up the EEC wine lake relatively cheaply. Also, think that real beer is going out of fashion, increasingly breweries are closing down or being taken over by big corporations and people are drinking fizzy lager or alcopops.
Boots have wound down the scale of their operation. Lots of shops have closed. I don't know if it's still there, but I used to visit The Beer Shop just off Old Street in London, which sold everything, including lots of different hop vareties and for me, loads of different wine yeasts. I now always stock up when visiting my parents as there is a craft shop in Newcastle which still sells a range of stuff.
In the end, after making wine from all sorts of weird things, because I could (eg coffee and onion!), I now mostly stick to elderberry, elderflower, parsnip, blackberry, apple, dandelion and the ones that I know produce the best flavour (and most alcohol). If anybody is feeling keen, I have some interesting recipes to try, such as raspberry jam wine!!

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Post by JohnD » 18 Dec 2002, 01:01

Twenty or so years ago I was into wine and beer making when it was at its height of popularity. Now, living within distance of the Channel Tunnel, once a month we take a £15 ride after 18.00 hrs. Three hours in France is more than enough to load the car with wine and booze. 80 litres of diesel at 52p is just an added bonus.